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Recognition / Assessing your credential in Canada

Most individuals who plan to come to Canada to settle permanently and who wish to enter the labour force will need to know the value of the education, training, and experience they have acquired outside Canada. The following information will help you to understand how one should go about having their credentials assessed and recognised for Canada.
The procedures for evaluating and recognizing qualifications earned outside Canada will depend on whether an applicant  wish to enter an occupation or pursue further studies, whether an application chooses an occupation is regulated or non-regulated, and the province/territory in which an applicant  intends to settle in Canada. 
As a general rule, if your chosen occupation is regulated, the recognition of qualifications will be determined by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory body, while for a non-regulated occupation, recognition is normally at the discretion of the employer.  
REGULATED OCCUPATION
A "regulated" occupation is one that is controlled by provincial and territorial (and sometimes federal) law and governed by a professional organization or regulatory body. The regulatory body governing the profession/trade has the authority to set entry requirements and standards of practice, to assess applicants' qualifications and credentials, to certify, register, or license qualified applicants, and to discipline members of the profession/trade. Requirements for entry, which may vary from one province to another,  usually consist of such components as examinations, a specified period of supervised work experience, language competency, etc.   If an applicant want to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, MUST have a licence or certificate or be registered with the regulatory body for the occupation. Some occupations are regulated in certain provinces and territories and are not regulated in others.
About 20 per cent of Canadians work in regulated occupations such as veterinarian, electrician, plumber, physiotherapist, medical doctor, engineer, etc. The system of regulation is intended to protect the health and safety of Canadians by ensuring that professionals meet the required standards of practice and competence.
NON-REGULATED OCCUPATION
A "non-regulated" occupation is a profession/trade for which there is no legal requirement or restriction on practice with regard to licences, certificates, or registration. The vast majority of occupations in Canada fall into this category. For some non-regulated occupations, certification/registration with a professional body is available to applicants on a voluntary basis, whereas for other non-regulated occupations there is no certification/registration available at all.
In general, applicants for non-regulated occupations will have to demonstrate to their potential employers that they possess the experience and training required for the job. Even when an occupation is not regulated, employers can still require that an applicant for a job be registered, licensed, or certified with the relevant professional association.
Each regulated occupation sets its own requirements for assessment and recognition, usually through the provincial or territorial professional association or regulatory body. (In some cases, there are federal requirements for recognition.) In order to qualify for practice in Canada, an applicant may be required to undergo professional and language examinations, submit to a review of qualifications, and undertake a period of supervised work experience.  
The applicants can find out more about the specific requirements for recognition of their qualifications in their profession/trade by doing the following:
•    Contact the professional association governing their occupation in their  own country to find out if there are any links with similar associations in Canada. Consult the publication entitled National Occupational Classification at the closest Canadian diplomatic mission to find out more about employment requirements for their occupation. 
•    Find out the name and address of the professional regulatory body governing their profession/trade in the province or territory where they  intend to settle by enquiring with CICIC. 
•    Write to the regulatory body and ask about the specific requirements and costs for licensing, certification, or registration, as well as the recommended procedure for an assessment. The regulatory body will advise the concerning required documentation and the fees for assessment. 
An applicant should be aware that the recognition process is different in each province and territory and for each profession/trade. It can be a costly and time-consuming process; so it is important that you obtain all the information you need to know about the process and specific requirements before undertaking an assessment.
For a non-regulated occupation, requirements for employment can vary from very specific to very general. You may be expected to demonstrate a certain level of skill and competence, to have completed a certain number of years of education, and even to have personal characteristics suitable for the job. Since these requirements are not regulated by provincial or territorial law, it is up to the employer to decide whether your qualifications earned outside Canada are equivalent to Canadian credentials required for the occupation. Because registration and certification may be available for certain non-regulated occupations, some employers will require, as a condition for employment, that applicants be registered or certified by the relevant professional association.
There is no single process in place for the assessment of qualifications for purposes of entry into non-regulated occupations. However, there are several ways an applicant can try to facilitate the process for a potential employer.
•    Get in touch with the association or organization relevant to your occupation in your home country and in Canada. Find out about the procedures recommended for an assessment of your qualifications. CICIC can direct you to the relevant organization in Canada, if one exists. 
•    Contact employers in your area of work experience to find out what the general expectations are for employment in Canada. Consult the publication entitled National Occupational Classification. A copy is available at the nearest Canadian diplomatic mission. Verify if there is voluntary certification or registration available and what the requirements are for the province or territory where they intend to work. 
•    If there are no provincial agencies, then the applicants need to contact one of the evaluation services listed below for an assessment of their credentials. Although these services offer expert advice on how qualifications obtained abroad compare with credentials obtained in a Canadian province or territory, the evaluation is advisory only and does not guarantee recognition of the applicant’s qualifications for employment or certification purposes in Canada. However, it will assist employers, post-secondary institutions, and professional bodies in understanding applicant’s academic background. 
•    Please note that these agencies charge a fee for their services.

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